What better way to work on your français over the holidays than by singing along to some chansons de Noël? While many English-language classics are popular here in l’Hexagone—oui, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is also a favorite of les Français (eye-roll emoji ici)—, we put together a playlist with French-language lyrics so you can practice your pronunciation and comprehension all while spreading some cheer.
You’ll surely recognize a few of the Christmas songs we’ve selected, like “Mon Beau Sapin,” “Noël Blanc,” “Douce nuit, sainte nuit,” and “Le Petit renne au nez rouge,” all of which have been translated from or into English. Others will be new to you, although most of the artists are very famous in France so serious francophiles will see some familiar names. Click below to listen our French Christmas music playlist or scroll down for more about our five favorites.
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Our Top 5 French Christmas Songs
1. “Petit Papa Noël” by Tino Rossi
This is THE French Christmas song you’ll hear over and over again. Tino Rossi first recorded this tube back in 1946 and it’s been going strong ever since. You can count on hearing this French holiday classic at every marché de Noël and most likely a few times while you’re there—thank heavens for le vin chaud.
2. “Vive Le Vent” by Dalida
Dating back to 1948, “Vive le vent” is the French version of “Jingle Bells”. It’s been performed by scores of artists over the années, but the rendition by Egyptian-Italian chanteuse Dalida is probably the most beloved in France. Her husky voice and charming accent bring an original sound to this familiar Christmas chanson.
3. “Noël à Paris” by Charles Aznavour
If you love French and Frank Sinatra, you’ve probably already heard of Franco-Armenian crooner Charles Aznavour. But have you heard his Christmas album? Released in 1978, Charles Aznavour’s Un Enfant est né includes dix different chansons de noël, all en français. One of the most famous is “Noël à Paris,” which tells the story of a couple celebrating Christmas alone in Paris.
4. “Bons Baisers de Fort-de-France” by La Compagnie Créole
Wishing you could celebrate Christmas at the beach? Put on this chanson! Combining holiday cheer and Caribbean island vibes, the Compagnie Créole wishes you a Joyeux Noël from Fort-de-France, Martinique, an overseas department of France.
5. “La Fille du Père Noël” by Jacques Dutronc
Alright, so this song may not have beaucoup to do with Christmas and it certainly isn’t the most festive—or family-friendly—, but it is definitely the French Christmas song with the most swagger. In this 1960s hit, famous French rock and pop star Jacques Dutronc sings about seducing Santa’s daughter, he himself being the son of Père Fouettard, the French anti-Santa who visits the naughty children (with whip in hand).